Microsoft charges tablet OEMs $80 or more for Windows RT?

Windows RT could become the platform that helps Microsoft gain tablet market share. But before that can happen, vendors are going to have to pay a hefty sum just to get their hands on it, according to a new report.

Tech site VR-Zone reported yesterday that it recently spoke with several tablet vendors at last week’s Computex trade show in Taiwan. And in those discussions, it found that Microsoft is charging between $80 and $95 for Windows RT, the company’s ARM-ready operating system. The majority of those vendors said that they were quoted $85.

Microsoft is facing an uphill battle in the tablet market. Apple’s iPad holds a dominant share, and an increasing number of vendors are choosing Android for their slates. What’s worse, those vendors can get their hands on Android for free. If Microsoft is indeed charging $80 or more for Windows RT, tablets running its software might have trouble keeping pace on price.

Microsoft expects to launch Windows 8 later this year. At Computex, Asus was the only company showing off a Windows RT-based tablet. Acer said that it plans to launch its own Windows RT devices in early 2013.

CNET has contacted Microsoft for comment on the Windows 8 RT pricing. We will update this story when we have more information.

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